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Sexton-Oehser quick thoughts: Jaguars 38, Titans 17


JACKSONVILLE -- Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton both offer three quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 38-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field Saturday …

Oehser …

  1. Boy, did these guys look loose. Much will be made in the aftermath of Saturday about how much this week's head coaching change had to do with how the Jaguars played against Tennessee. Gus Bradley was dismissed on Sunday as head coach and Doug Marrone served this week as interim head coach. How much was result a result of that? Did quarterback Blake Bortles and wide receiver Blake Bortles suddenly find themselves because of Marrone? Not likely, but the Jaguars certainly played like a loose team for the first time in a long time – and Bortles told reporters afterward he had been placing pressure on himself and was able to exhale on Saturday for the first time in a while. That might not be ideal at a position that must excel under pressure, but perhaps it explains the stark difference between Bortles Saturday and the season's first 14 games. Maybe the pressure of playing for Bradley's job was off. Maybe it was the sudden realization for many young players that things can change fast in the NFL if you don't perform. Whatever it was, it made for a different home team Saturday at the 'Bank.
  1. Boy, is Jalen Ramsey good. If we're running out of ways to describe Ramsey, we need to think of more because the rookie corner appears to be getting better and better each week. A week after a one-interception, five-passes-defensed performance in a loss to Houston, Ramsey turned in another playmaking performance Sunday. He had a third-down pass breakup in the first quarter that forced a punt and he had a highlight-reel breakup with a devastating hit on wide receiver Kendall Wright. A third breakup was negated when defensive tackle Sheldon Day was called for roughing the passer on quarterback Marcus Mariota, but that didn't negate what Ramsey did on the play. Ramsey's first breakup easily could have been an interception and he was upset with himself afterward. All of that was before he secured the victory with a 30-yard, Pick Six touchdown in the fourth quarter. Rookie wall? What rookie wall? Ramsey is getting better as the season draws to a close.
  1. Boy, did Bortles and the Jaguars' offense need this. Bortles, after struggling much of the season, turned in perhaps his best game of the season on Saturday – and he was particularly effective on the first half. The third-year quarterback completed 26 of 38 passes for 325 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions on Saturday, including 18 of 23 for 217 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He got Robinson involved early, allowing Robinson to have his best game of the season: nine receptions for 147 yards. Robinson had 103 yards in the first half. Bortles on Saturday was everything he hasn't been enough this season: efficient, accurate with good decision. The performance doesn't negate a season's worth of struggles, but it does provide the first glimmers of hope in a while that Bortles can become a consistent, winning NFL quarterback in the NFL. He must do what he did Saturday on a consistent basis, but it was positive to see him to do it.

Sexton …

  1. I was wrong when I said Blake Bortles should have been benched. Doug Marrone had a good plan, and most importantly, Bortles came out in a week that the focus was on his future and responded. He completed 68 percent of his passes, was smart and tough in the pocket and made big throws when it counted. It's tough to overlook a largely futile season for the quarterback, but I love that he came out this week and was in command. It was also his first 300-yard game with a winning outcome, and he caught his first career touchdown pass from Marqise Lee. Overall, a very nice performance for a quarterback and a franchise that needed it from him.
  1. The opening drive touchdown helped, but the defense was money against the run. In October, the Titans ran 43 times for 215 yards and pounded the Jags. On Sunday, they ran just 20 times for only 58 yards and never really threatened to get their vaunted ground game rolling. DeMarco Murray finished with a pedestrian 3.0 yard per carry average and Derrick Henry was stuffed on fourth and one. Choose the defensive player of the game because all of them came up big in the run, even Prince Amukamara from his cornerback position. The Jags defense is good and has been getting better, and it finally had the support from the guys on offense and showed you what they were made of. I especially liked watching Yannik Ngakoue and Dante Fowler getting after the quarterback and coming up with sacks. The Titans finished with just 263 yards and never really threatened the outcome of the game.
  1. Jalen Ramsey is officially a shut down corner. He shut his half of the field down for business on Sunday afternoon and poor Amukamara was left to play with the focus on his side of the field all day long. Ramsey has blossomed into a force – a dominant force at the end of his rookie season, and his intensity, desire and focus are off the charts. Credit Amukamara, no Titans receiver finished with more than 48 yards.

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